Our Kids Count!! Tell Congress: NO IDEA WAIVERS

The CARES Act Includes a provision that directs the Secretary [DeVos] to report back to Congress within 30 days on any waivers needed under the IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).  The bill gives the Secretary broad waiver authority over the Higher Education Act (HEA), the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Only Congress can waive IDEA and Section 504 provisions.

We know that State Directors of Special Education and Special Education Adminstrators are urging the Secretary to pause timeline requirements from the date of closure to 45 days after regular school in person days resume.  This would halt initial evaluations, annual IEP review timelines, Complaint timelines and Part C to Part B transitions. Such a pause can irreversibly harm students who were already struggling and who may be falling further behind due to lack of services and supports during this extended pause that would be solely for administrative convenience and NOT in the best interest of our children.

Tell Congress that we must help schools and families work together to find solutions that allow children to receive equitable access to an education and the services that support them without weakening or undoing all of their civil and educational rights.

Action: We must not allow Congress to use the national crisis as a reason to justify opening up civil rights laws to harmful amendments in future bills. Therefore, COPAA urges elected officials to:

  • Oppose waivers under IDEA and Section 504. The focus should remain on ensuring continuity of education and services.
  • Support providing states with additional funding that can be used under the IDEA to:

·       ensure teachers, school leaders, students and their families have needed tools for teaching and learning online and through other virtual methods.

·       provide extended school year to students and other compensatory services.

·       ensure providers are paid for telehealth related services such as OT, PT, and Speech/Language.

  • Help ED use current authority to be flexible where absolutely necessary on timelines and/extend or disregard SPP/APR reporting requirements for the 2019/2020 school year so that families and schools can focus resources on student needs
  • Support states by providing a total of $12.5 billion in IDEA funding under Parts B, C, D to support school and related service personnel in the provision of special education supports and services to students with disabilities infants through age 21)


Contact Your Elected Officials in Congress Now!

URGE NO IDEA WAIVERS

 

State Elected Officials

Visit our New COPAA COVID-19 webpage for an Action Alert, COPAA COVID-19 FAQ and a memo on the CARES Act.

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